June 30, 2009 in Idaho

Authorities: No one ruled out in Moscow death

David Johnson The Lewiston Morning Tribune
 

Authorities said Monday they hope to release more information by the end of the week or possibly file charges in connection with the death of a 28-year-old pregnant school teacher in Moscow.

“We still haven’t ruled anybody out,” said Moscow Police Lt. Paul Kwiatkowski. “We’re waiting on some official reports. Once we get those, we’ll be better off.”

Investigators are treating the death of Sarah J. Parks, who was 20 weeks pregnant, as a double homicide case. Parks’ badly burned body was found Wednesday in a duplex at 904 Vandal Drive.

“I don’t have a for-sure cause of death,” said Latah County Coroner Catherine Mabbutt. “I should get the final report soon.”

Prosecutor William Thompson Jr. said the cause of the fire remains suspicious. “What we’ve been told is there’s nothing to suggest it was an accidental fire.”

Autopsy results showed Parks died before the fire, officials reported last week. She and her husband, Silas Parks, formerly of Kendrick, lived in the lower floor apartment of the duplex. He was said to be away working out when the fire was reported.

“The husband showed up at the scene and talked with officers,” Thompson said.

Search warrants were executed over the weekend at the duplex and on the Parks’ vehicles. An accelerant-sniffing dog, from the Yakima Fire Department, was brought to the scene. Kwiatkowski declined comment on results of the searches and said he had not received a report on what the dog may have found.

“The fire was so hot,” Thompson said, “that it’s quite possible that if an accelerant was there it was completely consumed.”

The Moscow Police Department remains in charge of the investigation, Thompson said, with assistance from his office, the Moscow Fire Department, the Latah County Sheriff’s Office, state fire marshal arson experts, and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officials.

“There’s more information coming in every day,” Thompson said. “And I’m anticipating that it’s likely by the end of the week there will be more information available publicly. But I don’t know for sure right now. A lot of that is going to depend upon what is learned between now and then.”

The potential of double-murder charges is because Idaho law, as of 2002, includes human embryos or fetuses in its definition of murder.

Kwiatkowski said police worked through the weekend on the case. Numerous people have been interviewed, but no suspects have been identified. For police to execute search warrants, they have to show probable cause before a judge. Usually, probable cause affidavits become part of the public record once the warrants are returned to the court. But none of those documents had yet been filed at the Latah County Courthouse as of Monday.

“There are certainly persons of interest,” Thompson said, “and no one has been excluded at this point.”

Sarah Parks was a third-grade teacher at Moscow Charter School for the past four years. She and Silas Parks had been married for four years and were expecting their first child, according to Silas Parks’ Facebook postings last week. His Facebook site has since been removed from the Internet.

Silas Parks, who graduated from Kendrick High School and attended the University of Idaho, was working at a Moscow retail center, police said. Since the fire, he is thought to be staying with family in Kendrick, Kwiatkowski said.


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